White House Coronavirus Task Force

President Donald Trump 

  • This is a holy week, when religious believers across the nation will observe Passover, Good Friday, and Easter. 
  • Millions of Jewish families begin Passover at sundown tonight, a sacred, unbroken tradition that traces back to the ancient land of Egypt. 
  • On Sunday, we celebrate our beautiful, wonderful Easter, which we all look forward to. 
  • We’re getting much closer to getting our country back to the way it was. 
  • Earlier today, I spoke with 10,000 of America’s faith leaders to thank them for raising the spirits of our people during these very difficult days. While we may be physically apart, we can use this time to pray, to reflect, and to focus on our personal relationship with God.
  • I spoke with more than 3,000 Mayors, County Commissioners, State and Tribal leaders to provide an update on our Administration’s ongoing drive to crush the virus. 
  • I spoke with the representatives of the UK. Their great Prime Minister is doing better today, or at least better. We send our regards to Boris and his family and his friends.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

  • Under the President’s leadership, my team and I at the State Department are doing our part to protect the American people from the virus and, importantly, to get them home.
  • When many countries shut down their rail lines, buses, infrastructure systems, the capacity to get out of those countries — Americans were stranded — the State Department swung into action.
  • Since January 29th, we have now repatriated over 50,000 United States citizens back to their homes from more than 90 countries, more than 490 flights back to the United States from all across the world. 
  • This worldwide scale of our repatriation efforts is without parallel in our lifetime. 
  • We’re working to make sure the American people get back to be with their families.
  • Working with the Peruvian military and police forces to send riverboats up the river to get citizens that were stranded deep inside the Amazon forest.
  • Our mission in Nepal: Make sure that a woman who was running low on medication could get what she needed at a pharmacy before boarding an evacuation flight that brought her back here.
  • In Honduras: After the government imposed a very strict 24/7 curfew and closed airports, our embassy sprang into action for thousands of stranded Americans. A three-year-old boy told one of our consular officers just before he boarded the flight, “Thank you for helping me get back home to my dad.” 
  • We’ve received similar messages from lots of people. They’re proud to know that their country will not leave them stranded, and we’re going to get them back home.
  • The Repatriation Task Force at State Department, our consular officers have done great work. I want to thank our partners in the Department of Defense who have helped with some of these flights back home and other government agencies across the United States government in this Administration that have helped get these people back.

Secretary Pompeo was asked how the State Department will know it is done bringing citizens home. The Secretary answered that we still have several thousand people that we’re working to identify. New people find themselves in a difficult place, and go to the State Department website, identify themselves, and say I need help. We do our best to get that to them just as quickly as we can. The Secretary was also asked about whether China withheld critical information from the United States. Secretary Pompeo responded that this is not the time for retribution. It is the time for clarity and transparency. He continued that every country, China included, needs to be transparent about what’s gone on in their country. They need to share that data, and we will share ours with the world so that the best scientists can get to the right conclusions and bring this economy, this global economy back to the place that we all want it to be as quickly as we can. Secretary Pompeo concluded with a question about whether U.S. diplomats or U.S. officials have contracted the virus as they have tried to rescue U.S. citizens abroad. Secretary Pompeo.

President Trump Continued his Remarks

  • In just a few days, we’ve delivered nearly 11 million N95 masks to hotspots around the country, as you know, including 6.6 million to New York and New Jersey, 1.8 million to Chicago, 1.7 million to Detroit, and 837,000 to New Orleans.
  • To date, we’ve shipped out more than 8,000 ventilators. We have almost 10,000 ventilators ready to go, should we need them. An additional 2,200 newly manufactured ventilators come online on Monday. We’re going to be sending them to various locations, just in case they need them.
  • Beginning in May, we’ll be receiving almost 300 million new face masks. 
  • Today, 750,000 new protective gowns landed in Dallas, Texas, as a result of a partnership led by the federal government, DuPont, and FedEx.  And that’s been a great partnership. That’s worked very well. 
  • As American industry steps up to help, so are America’s doctors and scientists.  Ten drugs are now in clinical trials. 
  • Later today, the CDC will release further guidance to help ensure critical infrastructure workers can perform their job safely after potential exposure to the virus. 
  • As we mourn the terrible loss of life from this grave pandemic, we’re seeing signs that our aggressive strategy to slow the spread is working. The number of new cases is stabilizing. 
  • Some terrible days are ahead, but we’re going to have some wonderful days ahead. 
  • This is a tribute to the discipline and the devotion of the American people, what we’ve accomplished. If every American continues to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines, we can defeat the invisible enemy and save countless lives and we can do it much more quickly.
  • Yesterday, I asked Congress to provide an additional $250 billion to expand the incredibly successful Paycheck Protection Program.
  • To protect millions of American jobs, I’m asking Congress to pass additional funding for this program this week, as soon as possible. This will be an expansion of what we’ve already done because it’s so successful.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • We believe that our healthcare delivery system in the United States is quite extraordinary. 
  • What has been so remarkable, I think to those of us who have been in the science fields for so long, is how important behavioral change is and how amazing Americans are in adapting to and following through on these behavioral changes. 
  • We’re into the time period of full mitigation that should be reflected within the coming weeks of decreasing mortality. 
  • We are impressed by the American people. We are still in awe, really, of the American people’s strength in this and following through.

Vice President Mike Pence

  • We find ourselves in the midst of a very tough week for Americans in areas most impacted by the coronavirus — the New York City area, New Jersey, Louisiana. 
  • In the wake of more than 1.9 million tests, we see more than 400,000 Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus, and sadly, we’ve lost more than 14,000. We grieve. 
  • In this very special week, I know that the faith of millions of Americans is a comfort to them. The President and I spoke to more than 10,000 faith leaders, and we were able to express to them our gratitude for the way that they’re strengthening the communities that they serve.
  • I want to echo the President’s and Dr. Brix’s statements today about the extraordinary work the American people are doing. We continue to see a great progress, low and steady numbers in the states of California and Washington.
  • In the New York area, New Jersey, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston, we continue to see evidence of stabilization that should be an encouragement to every American.
  • It should be an encouragement to every American to keep doing what we are all doing: Heed the guidance of your state and local authorities, and for every American, continue to put the White House Coronavirus guidelines for America into effect.
  • An area of particular concern is the City of Philadelphia. As we begin to see early trend lines in Philadelphia, I assured him that we were going to continue to flow resources and support to that community. Our message to the people of the Philadelphia area is now, more than ever, practice the social distancing so that Philadelphia and, to some extent, even Pittsburgh do not have to endure what other communities before them have had to endure.
  • We hosted a conference call with every Republican Member of the House of Representatives and every Democrat Member of the House of Representatives. We expressed our appreciation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Kevin McCarthy for convening these forums.
  • We’ve brought together key members of our task force team. The Secretary of the Treasury discussed the progress that we’ve made on Paycheck Protection. Tonight, the Treasury tonight will be issuing a new FAQ document that will also make it clear that lenders may use their own closing documents for completing loan applications. 
  • Birx and Dr. Fauci briefed the Members of Congress today on the latest data. 
  • We also had Admiral Polowczyk talk about our control tower system, and the extraordinary flow of supplies to critical areas across the country. 
  • We also briefed on the disbursement of resources to local hospitals with Seema Verma and gave them an update on what the Secretary of State spoke about today.
  • In addition to our interaction with members of Congress today, we spoke with the President of the Henry Ford Hospital, Bob Riney. It is the Henry Ford Hospital that is conducting a clinical trial for hydrochloroquine. 
  • In the category of supplies and support, the President has signed 52 major disaster declarations.  Vermont was the latest approved. And states have stood up some 27,000 National Guard that are aiding in coronavirus response.
  • On the critical subject of ventilators, we do have currently more than 8,000 ventilators in our Strategic National Stockpile and distributed more to the Navajo Nation and to Colorado today. 
  • On the subject of the Airbridge, four flights were scheduled to arrive today, primarily focused on gloves for our incredible healthcare workers. One flight alone had nearly 19 million gloves — another 8 million, another 15 million. 
  • We announced yesterday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has requested that CDC and our team assemble data on the unique impact that we’re seeing reported on African Americans from the coronavirus. 
  • Tomorrow, with the Surgeon General and others on the White House team, we’ll be speaking with leaders in the African American community. 
  • The current guidance is that if you have been in proximity to someone who did test positive for the coronavirus that, the guidance of CDC is even with essential critical workers in industries from healthcare to food supply, that we asked people to stay home for 14 days. 
  • The new guidance tonight will hopefully make it clear that there would be an opportunity for those people playing such an incredible role in our nation’s response to be able to return to work and to do so safely.
  • Each and every day, we see the beginnings of encouraging news — the low and steady numbers in California and Washington State, and now beginning to see numbers of hospitalizations going down and new cases leveling out.
  • It’s an encouragement to every American to keep doing what you’re doing, not just for your own health and for the health of your loved ones, but because we want to make sure that all of us are doing our part to make sure that the fewest number of Americans possible are exposed to the coronavirus. 

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • Echo the Vice President.
  • The number of cases is stabilizing, but I do want to go through those numbers with you because we talk about these as micro-epidemics in metro areas and in rural areas.
  • In the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island — there are still 11,000 new cases per day and their positivity rate on their testing is still in the 40 percent-plus range. There’s still a significant amount of disease there and everyone needs to continue to follow the guidelines.
  • In New Orleans metro area, 800 new cases per day. Detroit metro area, 1,400 cases per day, 26 percent positivity.  Chicago: 1,200 cases per day and 18 percent.  Boston — 18 percent positivity, 1,100 cases per day. Denver has fallen to 180 cases per day, but still has 15 percent positivity in their testing. California and Washington have stayed stable at Seattle, 350 cases per day. The LA metro area — 800 cases per day, but their test-positive rates are remaining in the 9 percent range.
  • In the Philadelphia metro area, its 1,400 cases per day which of course, includes Camden, and the counties around the Philadelphia metro, and Wilmington. 
  • In the Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., area — 15 percent positivity and 500 cases per day, and 200 cases per day in Baltimore.
  • We’re looking county by county, metro by metro, rural region by rural region to make sure we don’t miss anything. 
  • I had a great call today with a group of pediatricians, the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They have put amazing things in place to protect every pregnant woman. 
  • Thank you for what you’re doing to get the message out to ensure that we continue to protect each other in this very difficult time. 

National Institute of Health Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci

  • Underscore Dr. Birx comments, the spectrum of going from infection to getting ill to requiring hospitalization to intensive care to death — what is the most striking and sobering is the number of deaths. We know the mitigation that we have been doing is having a positive effect, but you don’t see it until weeks later.
  • Keep emphasizing we need to keep mitigating. We know that this is something that is a strain on the American public, but it’s the best tool.
  • Regarding previous comments from the past few days regarding the African American community, health disparities in the minority community, particularly the African American community, puts them at risk — apart from coronavirus issues – puts them at risk for diseases much more so than the general population.
  • The double whammy that you suffer now is when you have this terrible virus, which essentially preys, in its ultimate deleterious effects, on people with those underlying conditions.
  • Since underlying conditions are more predominant in the African American population, we want to double down and say to the young people, to the elderly people in that community, to please try as best as you can to protect yourself. If you’re a younger person, please protect the people who are susceptible: your grandmother, your grandfather, your elder uncle, the people who have these underlying conditions.
  • We are not going to solve the issues of health disparities this month or next month. This is something we should commit ourselves for years to do. 
  • What we can do right now is to prevent people who are put at higher risk because of the demographic group from getting into a situation which is much, much more deleterious than the general population.

Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield 

  • One of the most important things we can do is keep our critical workforce working. 
  • CDC is looking at the essential workforce and how to maintain that workforce, particularly at this time as we begin to get ready to reopen and have confidence in bringing our workforces back to work.
  • We issued new guidance for essential healthcare workers who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. These are individuals that have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case. 
  • What we’d ask them not to do – we want them to stay at home if they’re sick. We want them not to share objects that would be touching their face. We ask them not to congregate in break rooms, lunchrooms, and crowded places.
  • For employers of these critical industries, we would ask those employers to take the employee’s temperature and assess their symptoms before starting them back to work.
  • If the employee does become sick, we want them to be sent home immediately. We’d like them to increase air exchange in the buildings, increase the frequency of how they clean common surfaces, and really begin to get these workers back into the critical workforce so that we won’t have worker shortage in these critical industries.
  • Those are the new guidelines that CDC will be posting today at CDC.gov

Full remarks and additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: April 8 Briefing

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